In English, there are words that link positive or negative phrases or ideas with the meaning ‘this is also true‘. They are: ‘also‘, ‘as well‘, ‘too‘, ‘so‘, ‘either‘ and ‘neither‘. Although, these words have the same meaning, they are used in different positions in a sentence and link either positive or negative statements.
Also, as well, too
These three words mean ‘in addition’. We use them in positive sentences:
- I like basketball and I also like football.
- I like basketball and I like football too.
- I like basketball and I like football as well.
The main difference is their position in a sentence.
‘Also’ is commonly used in writing, but is less common in speaking. It occupies different positions in a sentence.
‘Also’ is usually used:
- Jill walks to school, and Sara also walks to school.
- I love chocolate. I also love pizza.
- I can also speak French.
- I have also been there.
— after the verb ‘to be‘
- I am also Canadian.
- I was also there.
We can use ‘also’ in front position to emphasize what follows or to add a new point or topic:
- It’s very humid. Also, you can easily get sunburnt.
‘Too’ has the same meaning as ‘also‘ adding an agreeing thought. It’s usually used at the end of the sentence:
- I love chocolate. I love pizza too.
- Frank can come with us. Nancy can come with us too.
‘Too’ can occur immediately after the subject, if it refers directly to the subject:
- We, too, have been very pleased to be there.
‘Too’ is especially common in responses to fixed expressions (such as wishes), and in responses consisting of a single object pronoun:
- Enjoy your time! – Yeah, thanks! Enjoy your evening too.
- I hate mushrooms. – Yeah, me too.
‘As well’ is very similar to ‘too‘ in terms of meaning and position in a sentence. It is used much more common in speaking than in writing, and is more common in speaking than ‘also’.
‘As well’ is used at the end of the sentence:
- I’ll have steak please. And I’ll have vegetables as well.
- My mother can’t drive a car. – My mother can’t drive as well.
‘Too’ and ‘as well’ are common in spoken and informal British English. (‘As well’ sounds formal or old-fashioned in American English.)
Here’s a picture to summarize this information:
We can also use ‘so’ to mean ‘in addition’ in positive sentences:
- I like basketball and so does my brother.
(This means the same as ‘I like basketball and my brother likes basketball too’.)
| Note: The structure here is [so + auxiliary verb + subject]. |
|We use ‘so do I‘ to say that a positive sentence is also true for me:|
– I hate mushrooms.
– So do I (=I also hate mushrooms).
In spoken English, we can say:
I can swim.
- I can swim too.
- I can too.
- Me too.
- So can I.
Not either, neither & neither… nor
To connect negative ideas adding an agreeing thought, we use the words ‘either‘ and ‘neither‘.
‘Either‘ has the same meaning as ‘too‘ but it’s used in negative sentences — ‘not… either’ — at the end of a sentence:
- My sister doesn’t like basketball and she doesn’t like football either.
She doesn’t like basketball and she doesn’t like basketball too.)
- She can’t dance and she can’t sing either.
- I didn’t like the movie either.
The word ‘neither‘ is used to express a negative thought but with a positive verb:
Compare ‘either‘ and ‘neither‘:
- I haven’t seen Michael today.
- I haven’t (seen him) either. / Neither have I.
As with the previous example, we can express the same idea with ‘neither’. The word order is inverted after ‘neither’:
- She doesn’t like basketball and neither does she like football.
- She can’t dance and neither can she sing.
— We can also express the same idea with ‘neither… nor’:
- She likes neither basketball nor football.
- She can neither dance nor sing.
— We can also use ‘neither’ like this:
- My sister doesn’t like basketball and neither does my mother.
(This means the same as ‘My sister doesn’t like basketball and my mother doesn’t like basketball either’. NOT:
I like basketball and so likes my brother.)
|Note: The structure here is [neither + auxiliary verb + subject]. |
In spoken English, we can say:
I can’t play the guitar.
- I can’t play the guitar either.
- I can’t either.
- Me either. (US English)
- Me neither. (UK English)
- Neither can I.
|Be careful not to use two ‘negative words’ together:|
— She can’t sing and she can’t dance either.
|– I can’t play the guitar.|
– I can’t either. (NOT:
– Neither can I. (NOT:
Here’s a good video from Papa English explaining how these words are used: